District agrees to consult public before forming drinking bylaw

The District of Lake Country is consulting the public before implementing water intake protection

The District of Lake Country will be engaging with the public before creating a water protection program for water intakes in Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes.

The previous bylaw was revoked after receiving disapproval during a public hearing.

The bylaw, if passed, would prevent owners in the southwest corner of Kalamalka Lake from building new docks while restricting boaters to 5 km/hr in the specified zone. The zone contains 32 properties in the proposed location, 19 of which have docks. The proposed bylaw would help prevent sediment from contaminating drinking water supplies.

“The feedback we received from the community was strong and clear,” said Mayor James Baker, adding the public was keen on seeing different solutions.

While dock owners are able to maintain their old docks, residents expressed concern about being unable to build new ones.

“We can watch for speeding boats… and I think the no-wake zone is a far better tool for addressing boats,” said concerned resident Alan Gatzke.

Other concerns raised by members of the public included: discrimination against certain dock owners, finding alternative solutions, decreasing property values with properties being unable to build a dock and the lack of notice residents received.

Aquatic consultant Heather Larrett said most of the risks to water starts from the shorelines and now-defunct bylaw is a step to addressing the issue of contamination from high-speed boats.

The public would like to see better enforcement of boats in shallow waters, and that it’s not the dock owners who are affecting the intakes, it’s the tourism and lack of education, said Baker.

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